Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - Day One

Paul Scholes says United fix will take time under Moyes, takes shots at Arsenal: “Just get stuck in and you’ve won”


In a Premier League universe full of recent derision for Manchester United under David Moyes, count former Red Devils midfielder Paul Scholes in the minority. On Marouane Fellaini and Arsenal? That’s another story

The United legend is known for his feisty play under Sir Alex Ferguson to the tune of 718 appearances across all competitions. And along with pleading for patience under Moyes, the “Ginger Prince” took some shots as he played the role of Sky Sports pundit during United’s 3-0 derby day defeat against Manchester City.

On Moyes…

“He’s only nine months into the job. You have to stand by him. OK, he’s made a couple of signings that haven’t quite worked out yet, as he would have liked.

“In the summer, he’s going to need backing – there’s no doubt about that. Was he backed as well as he could have been last summer? I’m not too sure. But this summer, he has to be backed – and I think he knows he needs players.”

On the time it’ll take to fix United…

“I think you have to talk transfer windows. Because with every transfer window, you’re not going to get the players you ideally want. You might have to wait six months or a year to get the ones you want. So for me this is not a quick fix here, and these supporters are going to have to accept that.”

On summer transfer Fellaini…

He’s not been great, has he? You have to admit that. For a central midfielder at Manchester United for £27m, I’m expecting a few goals at least.

“He did have problems with his wrist and I know he missed a lot of games but, for the money they paid for him, I’d be expecting a lot more, to be honest with you.”

On Arsenal…

It’s almost as if they say: ‘you four, five midfielders, go out there do what you want. Try and score a goal, a few little nice one-twos, a bit of tippy-tappy football. Don’t bother running back’.

“I know they are third or fourth in the league but they are a million miles away in my eyes. When we played Arsenal it was really tough. You play Arsenal now, you think just get stuck in and you’ve won the game. Jack Wilshere, he came on the scene and what a top player he looked, but he’s never really gone on. He needs people like Vieira to take him to the next level. His development, he doesn’t look any better now than he did at 17.”

It’s entertaining stuff from one of the league’s best, unafraid to get ‘stuck in’ off the Old Trafford pitch the same we he did on it.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.